Pasear por las calles de la antigua parte de Alcalá de Henares provoca reflexiones. Especialmente cuando el objetivo de la visita del extranjero es dar clases de metafísica a los estudiantes complutenses en la lengua cervantina; cuando uno se aloja en la residencia San Ildefonso, una de las más importantes obras del Renacimiento español y declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad, con el “Patio de Filósofos”; cuando muy cerca está la casa natal de Cervantes, un convento reformado por Santa Teresa de Ávila, y las salas donde estudiaba San Ignacio de Loyola. La antigüedad se mezcla con la modernidad dandonos una riqueza enorme para penetrar y disfrutar más. De manera semejante comprendo el sentido de la metafísica – el tema, al menos a primera vista, terriblemente duro, pero si se trata este tema con simpatía y tolerancia, se puede convertir en un asunto importante para la gente normal y corriente. Eso es exactamente lo que intenté a hacer con mis estudiantes españoles: es decir, a demonstrarles que cuando estamos hablando sobre, por ejemplo, los valores no vale la pena ignorar las especulaciones que normalmente hacen los filósofos que se especializan en las cuestiones metafísicas. [Read more…]
Santayana on barbarism. The notion of ‘barbarism’ in Santayana has predominantly (though not exclusively) a form of something that can be called a ‘cultural barbarism’ as opposed to ‘civilization,’ and, in this sense, does not refer directly to any indiscriminate killings or plundering, as it is frequently associated in the popular usage of this term. According to him, barbarism in this cultural form can be found both in the ancient past, when “barbarian genius infused into Christianity” (LR 228) – the Gothic cathedrals having been an example of such an infusion -, and in the modern era, when such eminent representatives of the “poetry of barbarism” can be found as Walt Whitman and Robert Browning. By employing the opposition ‘barbarian-civilized’ in many of his texts, he wanted to tell us that the civilized way of thinking lies in having a clear vision of a perfect life along with the recognition of the ultimate justification of the machinery of life, understanding it with its ideals, wisdom, and beauty (cf. IPR, 166-168); contrary to that, barbarian means “undisciplined, rebellious against the nature of things” (L4, 45). [Read more…]
The problem of ‘justice’ and ‘injustice’ has always been widely and ardently discussed in the public sphere. A professionalized type of discussions, such as amongst philosophers, lawyers, experts on political issues, etc. seems very technical, complicated and frequently misunderstood for the members of the public. One of the reasons is that this notion (‘justice’) is a very general idea having very different meanings and, additionally, it evokes high emotions in those who have experienced themselves some kind of injustice. For example, for some, ‘justice’ means ‘revenge’ (as it was according to the Hammurabi Law and still is in many cultures and in some kinds of individual approaches), which for others means hardly anything more than ‘a barbarian type of practicing injustice.’
Santayana on Values. Although Santayana did not use such phrases as a ‘philosophy of values,’ ‘axiology,’ and ‘value theory,’ almost all his numerous works are full of references to the problem of values. He gives us, in his works, an answer to the question as to what is valuable, how values and the valuable emerge, and what constitutes the processes of evaluation. We can talk, then, about a need to reconstruct his philosophy of values or his theory of values, although he saw the practice of becoming a worthy person doing valuable activities much more important for a philosopher than producing a theory in an academic style; as Arthur Danto commented on the example of the value of ‘beauty’, Santayana “doubtless would have said that it is better to create beauty than to analyze it” (Danto xvi). [Read more…]
Free Webinar: Why values are important in everyday life?
Every day, many people from all walks of life think and talk about values. Any time we use such words as ‘worthy/unworthy,’ ‘value/valuable,’ ‘good/better/worse,’ ‘nice/beautiful/ugly,’ and many others we willy-nilly refer to some forms of evaluation and values. Some of these evaluations are short-term, as when we refer to some goods to be achieved soon; some of these evaluations are medium-term, as when we think of our education, partnership, etc.; they refer to long-term, as when we ask questions about the worth of our lives: does my life have any sense/worth? What is or should be its direction? [Read more…]
Let’s take a look at Richard Rorty’s skill to employ some words of the colloquial style into a serious philosophical discourse. I show you this to illustrate the thesis saying that one does not have to separate a heavy philosophical style (and serious issues to be discussed) from the informal everyday speech in order to produce a profound message for both audiences, I mean the professional philosophers and those interested in philosophical issues.
people begin to toss around old words in new senses, to throw in the occasional neologism, and thus to hammer out a new idiom which initially attracts attention to itself and only later gets put to work. In this initial stage, words stand out as words, colors as encrusted pigments, chords as dissonances. Half-formed materiality becomes the mark of the avant-garde (“Deconstruction and Circumvention”).
In some dictionaries and for many speakers, such phrasal verbs as ‘toss around, ‘throw in,’ and ‘hammer out’ are seen as informal, and such terms as ‘neologism,’ ‘dissonance,’ and ‘avant-garde’ (not to mention ‘deconstruction’ and ‘circumvention’ in the title) sound formal. Rorty’s use of such words side by side corresponds to his attempt to widen the philosophical audience in hope to include both philosophers and the readers who are outside of academia.